Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Quick Vent about Roman Polanski

I know I don't usually write here about non-family-related stuff but I just read an article that made my blood boil. I've been casually following the Roman Polanski arrest story in the news. For the uninitiated, Polanski had sex with a 13-year-old girl after plying her with champagne and drugs. He took topless pictures of her at Jack Nicholson's house before taking her first to a hot tub and then to Nicholson's bedroom.

Why the child was there at Nicholson's home is rather inconsequential to the story but apologists surely point out that she was a young teen willing to drink, take pills and pose topless for a much-older man, that she was likely promiscuous, blah blah blah. Yes, she was clearly troubled or, at least, poorly parented.

Polanski ended up pleading guilty to the crime of unlawful sexual intercourse - the elements of which are basically the same as what we call "statutory rape". Unlike a charge of forcible rape, statutory rape doesn't require that the victim did not consent to the sexual activity/intercourse. However (a big however), the law assumes that children do not have the capacity to consent. At all.

A child can NEVER consent to sex under the law. This is because of the emotional power that adults hold over children - they can say "yes" because they're scared, because they've been manipulated, because they've been brainwashed, because they've been previously abused and are emotionally debilitated, because they don't know better. But they are absolutely not old enough or mature enough to understand the greater implications of saying "yes" or even to understand that they can say "no".

Before Polanski could be sentenced (he faced up to 20 years in prison), he fled the country and hasn't been back to the United States in 32 years. He was arrested this week in Switzerland and awaits extradition.

Hollywood is abuzz with the bizarre self-righteous indignation only those in Hollywood can understand. Polanski is apparently a cultural hero. He makes brilliant movies. He survived the Holocaust. His pregnant wife was horribly murdered by Charles Manson's followers. (Side note: If you've never read Helter Skelter before, I thought it was really good - but don't read it when your husband goes out of town. It's hard to sleep with one eye open...holy crap that book is frightening.)

So apparently that makes it okay to rape a child. Don't do it again. Avoid apprehension for 32 years. Make movies that people admire.

Whoopi Goldberg referenced the crime as not being "rape-rape" on The View. Disgusting. She clearly hasn't read the grand jury testimony from the case. And I venture to guess if the 43-year-old landscaper who mows her yard had sex with her 13-year-old granddaughter, she'd think it was "rape-rape". By the way, 13 years old is middle school, people. A 43-year-old and a 7th grader.

So, this morning, I read a quote in the news from Polanski's former sister-in-law. She apparently told the Today Show that the sex was consensual and that he won't be able to receive a fair trial in the United States because our justice system is broken.

Say what you will about the justice system, but I think this woman - like most of Hollywood - is delusional and sick. 7th graders can't have consensual sex with 43-year-old men. And, no, he won't receive a fair trial.

That's because he won't receive a trial at all. HE PLEADED GUILTY TO A CRIME ALREADY. He sat in a courtroom in 1977 and admitted to his crime. He admitted that he had sex with her. He admitted that he knew she was 13. He acknowledged that he was waiving his right to a trial and that he faced a potential 20 year prison sentence. HE IS GUILTY. AND HE ADMITTED IT TO THE COURT. He doesn't get a trial now.

I'm just so dumbfounded at the reaction to this I don't even know what else to say, so I'll stop. Am I missing something? Is there really some logically excuse or justification for letting him off the hook on this?

Grand Jury Transcript here
Guilty Plea Transcript here

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Do It Myself


I can recall saying to mothers of other toddlers, "I thought age 3 was WAY worse than age 2 for my kids." But I couldn't remember exactly why.

My babies will be three in January. And now I remember.

"I do it myself."

All day. Every day. Times two.

Slowly leading me to to insanity.

Picking out clothes? I do it myself.
Taking off and putting on clothes? I do it myself.
Taking off and putting on socks and shoes? Yep. I do it myself.
Opening the door to the garage.
Hitting the garage door opener button.
Opening the car door.
Putting on car seat straps.
Buckling car seat straps.
Getting out of the car.
Closing the car door.
Opening doors at stores and restaurants.
Wiping nose.
Packing backpack.

I do it myself. (Note: Often, there is only one thing to do - like close the car door. So, then we have to open and close the car door twice - because, well, there's two of them and they both want to do it themselves.)

I am now late to everything. Every time.

I know that this is a phase. And I know that allowing them to do these things encourages them to be independent people. And that is good. But it is also extremely frustrating. Infuriating even, at times.

If only they would decide that the bathroom was the place to "do it myself". The last frontier, I guess...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reality

I had a great conversation with the mom of one of M's classmates the other night. Mom-mom relationships are an interesting thing. Lots of judging (or at least, perceived judging) over in the elementary-school-mom-social-scene. Rah-rah moms, moms who seem to live at the gym, moms that look a little too perfect. (See? Me. Judging.)

Anyway, M's friend's mom and I had a real conversation. About being frustrated with kids. About yelling. About trying not to swear in front of the kids. I know these parents are involved with their kids and have fun with their kids and adore their kids. But it was refreshing to hear another mom talk about the same daily frustrations and lost tempers as happen at our house.

A little bit of validation goes a long way. (Not that I don't still wish that I handled my frustrations better - but I'm gonna try to stop laying a guilt trip at my own feet.)

I think we all put on some sort of facade to strangers and acquaintances. And it's nice when you find people that you can let a bit of that guard down.

My husband and my sisters and probably my mom are about the only people who see and understand the "real" me. The truth about me? I'm a little bit weird, a little bit silly, a little bit insecure, pretty smart, kinda geeky, a little bit ADD, fairly disorganized, a substantial procrastinator and I swear. A lot.

I watch a strange variety of television - Mad Men, Top Chef, Grey's Anatomy, The Ultimate Fighter, Entourage, America's Next Top Model and Glee. Yes, I said The Ultimate Fighter.

I've never seen an episode of Dancing with the Stars. I don't think Ellen Degeneres is a good choice for the new Idol judge.

My purse and my car and my desk are cluttered. But I can find anything I'm looking for in those spaces.

I bite my fingernails. And I went to an all-women's college. I'm a bit obsessive in a cyclical fashion.

I'm pretty much a dork but I can act like a non-dork when out among civilians.

The reality is that we are all a bit different than the image we portray to those around us. How different is the "public you" from the "real you"?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama Brainwashes Children

Just picked my kids up at school (first and second grade).

Without further ado, here's what they had to say about the hubbub:

M: I saw Obama at school.
Me: What did he talk about?
M: You should never let down your country.
Me: What does that mean?
M: Letting down your country is bad.
Me: But what does that mean?
M: Quitting stuff. Like school.

G: And there was a senior president there. Named Tim Spicer. It was at Wakefield High School.*
M: In Virginia.

Me: What else did he talk about?
G: Responsibility.
M: And compassion.
Me: What is compassion?
M: Working together. I learned that from the counselor. Not Mrs. Frank though. We have a new counselor named Mrs. Graves. I'm scared of her puppets.

And that was that. Totally brainwashed, I tell you.


*This kid can't remember to brush his teeth thirty seconds after I tell him to brush his teeth, but he correctly remembered the name of the teenager who introduced the president and the name of the freaking venue of the speech.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dear Walmarts


Dear Walmarts:

The cost/benefit ratio can't be favorable to you. When a mother of toddler(s) walks into your gargantuan "super" store and is immediately confronted with a coin-operated kiddie car, are many really stopping to pump it full of quarters before continuing with their shopping extravaganza?

I quit you once before because of this. About five years ago. G was 2. The Mickey Mouse car at the entrance caused me to lose my shit in front of the poor, kind, retired greeter. As I dragged my screaming child out of your store by his armpit, pushing the shopping cart containing one-year-old M precariously with one hand, I believe I said something along the lines of "I will NEVER come back to this fucking store until all of the goddamn kiddie rides and vending machines are GONE!"

My boycott lasted a little while. I stuck to my guns for about a year if I recall correctly. And the kids grew and I forgot and forgave.

Until today.

At one of your "super" stores, you've got these ridiculous cars at both entrance/exits. We just needed to grab something for dinner while G was at his piano lesson. When C was told "no car", he lost it. Stopped near the entrance and cried and screamed and generally carried on.

I stood and watched. Waiting for his energy to wane. I finally coaxed him into walking with us. Only to have the same routine repeat itself in the bread aisle. I again stood and watched. Garnering looks from other shoppers - some kind, some not. (No one slapped my kid though - at least I've got that going for me.)

In the end, he was too tired to get his shit together and recover while in the store. So, we abandoned our cart and left.

Dollars forfeited to you, Walmart. ZERO.

Aren't you glad you asked for that f'ing quarter at the entrance? It probably cost you about $50.

I won't be back until at least kindergarten.

Sincerely,
Kate

Another Video That I May Be Late In Discovering

I dare you to NOT start tapping your toes while listening to this little gem.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One Day Down...


These guys started Mother's Day Out yesterday. They will go on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 2:30.

Their first day was terrific. C even told me that playing outside at school was "awesome". They played and had circle time and ate lunch at a table with the rest of the kids.

Next week, they'll stay a little longer and have naptime too. (We'll see how that goes...)

I think I'm going to really enjoy the time on my own. It's been a while.

I didn't think I would miss them. And I didn't while they were there. But when I returned and saw them through the doorway, minding their manners, sitting at the lunch table like such big boys? And when their faces lit up when they finally noticed I was there? My heart ached just a little bit - partly because I realized that I had actually missed them a bit and partly because I realized, in that moment, that my babies were on their way to not being my "babies" anymore.